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Driving licence classes


On January 1, 1999, a new driver's license in credit card format was introduced in Germany. This replaced the former national classes with the uniform European driving license classes A to E. In principle, the driving license can be used in all EU member states and in the EEA states of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein without having to exchange it. This means that the previous obligation to exchange the driver's license when changing residence from one member state to another no longer applies.

The next generation of card driver's licenses has been issued since January 19, 2013. These driver's licenses are limited in validity as a document to 15 years. Renewal continues to take place for car and motorcycle drivers without a health examination or other tests.

Due to requirements of the European Union, the different driver's licenses in the EU countries must be converted to the uniform model introduced on 19.01.2013 by 19.01.2033. All German driver's licenses issued before 19.01.2013 must therefore be exchanged at the driver's license authority (road traffic office) responsible for the current place of residence according to the following schedule:

Driving licences issued before 1999 (paper driving licences)
Date of birth before 1953Exchange until 19.01.2033
Date of birth 1953 to 1958Exchange until 19.01.2022
Date of birth 1959 to 1964Exchange until 19.01.2023
Date of birth 1965 to 1970Exchange until 19.01.2024
Date of birth 1971 and younger Exchange until 19.01.2025
Driving licences issued from 1999 to 18.01.2013 (old card driving licences)
Exhibition years 1999 to 2001Exchange until 19.01.2026
Exhibition years 2002 to 2004Exchange until 19.01.2027
Exhibition years 2005 to 2007Exchange until 19.01.2028
Exhibition year 2008Exchange until 19.01.2029
Exhibition year 2009Exchange until 19.01.2030
Exhibition year 2010Exchange until 19.01.2031
Exhibition year 2011Exchange until 19.01.2032
Exhibition years 2012 to 18.01.2013Exchange until 19.01.2033

The changes in the categories of driving licences can be seen in the following overviews.

Categories of driving licences

Since January 1, 1999, the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt has maintained the Central Register of Driving Licences (ZFER). This register stores all data relevant to driving licenses.

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